John Quincy Adams, when he was U.S. secretary of state, in 1819, wrote to a German citizen who was considering moving to the United States, and asked Adams for a job. Those were the days when a politician could speak the truth without political consequences. Such a letter today from a U.S. secretary of state would be cause for impeachment to appease the outcry from the Left. Here are excerpts from the letter as published in today's Wall Street Journal:
Notable & Quotable: John Quincy Adams
‘This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights.’
"Every officer impeachable by the laws of the country, is as liable, twenty years after his office has expired, as he is whilst he continues in office, and if such is not the case, if an officer could thus ward off the pains of impeachment, what would be the value of the provision… ?”Neither the general government of the union, nor those of the individual states, are ignorant or unobservant of the additional strength and wealth, which accrues to the nation, by the accession of a mass of healthy, industrious, and frugal laborers, nor are they in any manner insensible to the great benefits which this country has derived, and continues to derive, from the influx of such adoptive children from Germany.But there is one principle which pervades all the institutions of this country, and which must always operate as an obstacle to the granting of favors to new comers. This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights. Privileges are granted by European sovereigns to particular classes of individuals, for purposes of general policy; but the general impression here is that privileges granted to one denomination of people, can very seldom be discriminated from erosions of the rights of others.Emigrants from Germany, therefore, or from elsewhere, coming here, are not to expect favors from the governments. They are to expect, if they choose to become citizens, equal rights with those of the natives of the country. They are to expect, if affluent, to possess the means of making their property productive, with moderation, and with safety;—if indigent, but industrious, honest and frugal, the means of obtaining easy and comfortable subsistence for themselves and their families. . . .To one thing they must make up their minds, or, they will be disappointed in every expectation of happiness as Americans. They must cast off the European skin, never to resume it. They must look forward to their posterity, rather than backward to their ancestors; they must be sure that whatever their own feelings may be, those of their children will cling to the prejudices of this country, and will partake of that proud spirit.
John Quincy Adams